Danielle Allen, widely known scholar, elected chair of Pulitzer Prize Board


Media Contact
Sabina Lee, sabina.lee@columbia.edu or (212) 854-5579

New York, N.Y. (May 1, 2014) -- Danielle Allen, a versatile scholar whose intellectual interests span the classics, philosophy and political theory, has been elected chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, Columbia University announced today.

Allen, the UPS Foundation Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., replaces Paul Tash, chairman and CEO of the Times Publishing Company, which publishes the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s largest newspaper. Board members serve a maximum of nine years while a chair serves for only one year.

Allen, the first African American woman to chair the Board, has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of "The World of Prometheus: the Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens" (2000), "Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education" (2004), and "Why Plato Wrote" (2010). Her latest book, "Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality," will be published in June.

In 2002, Allen was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her ability "to combine the classicist’s careful attention to texts and language with the political theorist’s sophisticated and informed engagement." She is currently working on books on citizenship in the digital age, and on education and equality. Allen is a frequent public lecturer and regular guest on public radio affiliates to discuss issues of citizenship, as well as an occasional contributor on similar subjects to The Washington Post and to periodicals such as Boston Review, Democracy, Cabinet and The Nation.

A graduate of Princeton University with an A.B. degree in classics, Allen received a Ph.D. in classics from Cambridge University in 1996 and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University in 2001. Joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1997, she was a professor in the departments of classics and political science and in the Committee on Social Thought. She also served as the university’s dean of the division of humanities, leaving in 2007 for a position at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Born in Maryland, raised in California, and a lover of poetry, Allen has been a member of the Pulitzer Board since 2006. A former trustee of Princeton University, she is a trustee of Amherst College, a board member at the Mellon Foundation, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


The Pulitzer Prizes, which are administered at Columbia University, were established by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, who left money to Columbia University upon his death in 1911. A portion of his bequest was used to found the School of Journalism in 1912 and establish the Pulitzer Prizes, which were first awarded in 1917.

The 19-member board is composed mainly of leading journalists or news executives from media outlets across the U.S., as well as five academics or persons in the arts. The dean of Columbia's journalism school and the administrator of the prizes are nonvoting members. The chair rotates annually to the most senior member or members. The board is self-perpetuating in the election of members. Voting members may serve three terms of three years for a total of nine years.